The EU has had its ups and downs: progress in economic and political integration was for many years modest until the mid-1980s, whereafter followed a period of bold decisions leading to a much improved internal market and the setting up of EMU. Since the start of the economic slowdown in the year 2000, the EU seems to have entered a new phase of weakness. Recent years have witnessed, inter alia, slow or no economic growth, renewed increases in the rate of unemployment, and a reversal of the catching-up process relative to the USA. While enlargement must be deemed a great historical achievement, Europe suffers from lack of leadership, reflected in quarrels over foreign policy, and inability to agree on the institutional reform needed to ensure its effective functioning. The perception of the EU is coloured by impressions of weak performance and weak governance. Should one conclude that the institutional structure of the EU is unable to face up to the challenges posed by integration and global competition?
KeywordsManifold Europe Coherence Stake OECD
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